Alabama, is a series of 53 paintings (36x48cm) which I painted from 1988 to 1989. It was conceived as a pictorial development of John Coltrane’s solo in memory of the four young girls who died in the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama on September 15th, 1963 – a deadly attack against the civil-rights movement.
In some Indian language, Alabama means “Here, we can rest.”
When questioned about the meaning of his piece, Coltrane said: “It’s the love that forgives.”
Some events put a mark on one’s soul beyond time.
A simple remembrance becomes a seed which later sprouts and bears fruit.
I started painting this series after the death of my friend, the Bantu poet and novelist Tchicaya U Tam’si, shortly followed by my daughter’s birth.
Birth and death are intimately woven.
I had to give a form to what was weighing on my soul.